What Causes Poor Indoor Air Quality?

What is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor Air Quality, or IAQ, is described essentially as the quality of air within a building. This could be in homes, office buildings, schools, hospitals and more. Poor indoor air quality is caused by a variety of factors, almost all of which create indoor air pollution.

Indoor air pollution is a key health concern, particularly for people who have asthma and allergies; but IAQ is not something that is typically on most people’s minds. Even if there are clear indicators, such as ill health effects, poor IAQ can be difficult to detect, as symptoms of indoor air quality mimic those of colds, seasonal allergies, and more. The effects of actual indoor air pollution, though, can be far more hazardous than a common cold. Poor IAQ can cause respiratory or other health issues and could potentially lead to cancer.

It’s smart to be mindful of what creates poor air quality and indoor air pollution. Below we list the most common causes of poor IAQ.

Asbestos:

This building material is no longer used in home construction but can certainly be found in older homes. If your home has asbestos it can create a variety of health problems, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious complications.

Pets:

Our furry friends offer a lot of great companionship, but they also can contribute to poor IAQ if not properly cared for and clean up after. Bathe and groom your pet as directed by your veterinarian to prevent dander buildup on your pets skin. Dander is simply a term for the microscopic particles of skin that flake from your pets during normal activity. Buildup up dander in the home can cause issues for everyone, not just pet allergy sufferers. Clean your home regularly to rid it of pet debris, and consider upgrading your HVAC air filter to a HEPA filter.

Gas Stoves:

They produce wonderful food, but they can potentially be compromising your indoor air quality by leaking harmful chemicals throughout your home. If you have a gas powered space heater, avoid using this as well for the same reason.

Formaldehyde:

Formaldehyde is one of the most common indoor air pollutants, and cause severe health problems for those exposed to it for long periods of time. Symptoms of formaldehyde exposure include throat irritation, itchy and red eyes, dry nose, and other allergy-like symptoms. Long term exposure can lead to cancer.

Tobacco Smoke:

If you or anyone else in your household smokes indoors, your indoor air quality is suffering. The smoke can cause a variety of health concerns from respiratory irritation to lung cancer. The smartest thing you can do for the health of your indoor air is to quit smoking. If this isn’t possible, then designate your home as a smoke-free zone and take it outdoors—ideally 25 feet away from your place of residence.

Consider an Air Purifier for Better IAQ

Once you have conquered all the indoor air pollutants listed above, consider adding an air purifier to your home. At Cal Air, we offer the Carrier Infinity Air Purifier System, which can remarkably improve the quality of your home’s indoor air. Live in the Green Valley area and want to learn more about this incredible system? Call us at 702-550-1435.

Healthy Home Living: Tips for Creating a Healthier Home Environment for Your Family

Did you know that the air inside of our homes is often just as polluted as the air outside? Though we like to think of our homes as safe and healthy spaces for our families, the truth is that we need to make small changes in order to keep our homes healthy in the long-run. Use the simple tips below to create a healthier home environment.

Healthy Home Living Tips

Maintaining a healthy home doesn’t have to be hard. Here are five of our top tips for creating a healthier home environment for you and your family:

  1. Ventilate your space.

Adequate ventilation is important in your home environment both for your family’s comfort and health. Proper ventilation works to continuously rid the air of common indoor pollutants, such as built up gases, cooking odors, and smoke. Proper ventilation will also prevent excess moisture in the air from settling into your home’s insulation.

An easy way to improve ventilation in your home is to open the windows slightly when cooking, cleaning, and bathing. At least once a week, turn off your HVAC system and open all the windows and allow your space to “breathe” for about an hour, even during the cooler months. Another easy solution is to allow as many interior doors as possible to remain open. This will help your indoor air circulate effortlessly throughout your home and prevent “stale air” buildup within certain rooms.

  1. Dust regularly.

Excess dust and debris can result in poor indoor air quality, so it’s a good idea to dust and vacuum your home regularly to prevent dust buildup. Be sure when vacuuming to clean out your air vents and registers, as dust and debris often lingers in these hard to see areas.

When dusting and vacuuming some amount of residual dust will get kicked up and eventually will settle back down onto surfaces throughout your home. By switching on your thermostat’s “FAN ON” function, you’ll be able to filter out a significant amount of this residual dust. Only run this setting for about 15 minutes, and then switch back to your “AUTO” setting.

  1. Change your HVAC air filter.

We cannot recommend enough that you frequently change your HVAC system’s air filter. This is a task that needs to be done more often than annually. Ideally, you should check your air filter once per month, and get to know what a clean filter looks like versus a dirty filter. Once your system’s air filter becomes dirty, it’s time to replace it. Depending on whether or not you have pets, whether you engage in projects that kick up a lot of dust, or how often you run your heating or cooling units, you may need to change your filter more often than the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  1. Avoid toxic chemicals when cleaning and repelling pests.

You can easily improve your home environment by switching your cleaning products to eco-friendlier versions. Many of these “green solutions” are also easy to DIY: use diluted vinegar for cleaning mirrors and glass, diluted lemon juice for bathrooms and kitchen countertops, and baking soda + seltzer for stubborn areas such as sinks or removing stains from upholstery.

When purchasing pest repellants, seek out non-toxic options whenever possible. Look for traps and other methods that are non-toxic, so you can keep your home pest free while ensuring your home is healthy for you and your loved ones.

  1. Add houseplants.

Houseplants not only add a touch of nature to your home environment, but they are also excellent to have around for indoor air quality. As plants take in the CO2 from the air, they release oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. This natural boost of oxygen makes the air easier for you to breathe, creating a healthier environment for both mind and body.

Some plants that are simple to care for are Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, English Ivy, Rubber Plants, and Spider Plants. Place them around your home depending on their individual light requirements. Every room can benefit from having a houseplant or two. Just don’t forget to water!

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